Substance use disorder can negatively impact an individual’s ability to act rationally and reasonably, potentially putting the lives of those around them in danger.
If your ex shares custody of your children and you notice signs of substance abuse, you can take steps to get your kids to safety.
Speak to your legal counsel
If substance abuse is taking place before the finalization of the divorce, you can use the information to help a judge’s custody ruling. The safety and well-being of children are key factors when the court considers where to place children. The court will need more than your word, but there are generally processes in place to validate claims of alcohol or illicit substance abuse.
Request a modification to custody orders
If you discover that your ex is struggling with substance use disorder after the divorce, you can return to court and request custody arrangement modifications. The judge will require convincing evidence in order to change the decree, but it is possible. The changes may have qualifications attached to them, such as the potential for reversing the modification if the ex-spouse can prove responsible guardianship.
File for a protective order
If the substance abuse led to emotional or physical abuse, violence or other damaging and harmful behaviors, you can request a protective order against the individual. This is a court order that prevents the individual from contacting you or your children or coming within a certain distance of you. Violating this order can lead to jail time.
Those struggling with substance abuse disorder need to seek help before they can adequately care for their children. Your child’s safety is the priority when you seek to address this situation.